Chaos and Order—Judges 19–21

Here is the ninth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being in the side of pacifism. In this essay, “Chaos and Order,” I look at the book of Judges, a challenging book to understand in relation to peace theology. I suggest that Judges helps us understand the context for Israel’s disastrous choice to turn toward human kingship with its picture of how, when “there was no king in Israel,” everyone did “that which was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). The story told in Judges is important for peace theology primarily in its account of the struggles of Israel to live in the land–struggles that only grew in the years to come until, finally, the entire idea of God’s promise being channeled through a nation-state had to be abandoned.

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